After my third high-intensity workout, I weighed in at 182.6 lbs. for a gain of 2.8 lbs. so far. Unless I've lost 8 lbs. of fat in the same time (I haven't), I'm tracking considerably short of the 34 lbs. of muscle in 28 days claimed by Tim Ferriss. Some possible reasons:
- As many assert, the gains claimed are impossible
- A genetic makeup not suitable for this kind of program
- Not enough protein in my diet
- Too many fats and/or simple carbohydrates in my diet
- Improper supplementation
- Not pushing hard enough in each exercise set
- Doing too many types of exercises
Ferriss makes some pretty outrageous claims and his skills in marketing might be too powerful for his own good, but I don't think he'd flat out lie about his results. Besides, there's nothing I can do if #1 is true. Same goes for #2. Reasons #3 and #4 require more investigation, but I think I've been doing fairly well. Reasons #5-#7 present the most opportunities for improvement.
Although I tried to closely follow Ferriss' supplementation regimen, there are some differences. First, he took two scoops of NO-Xplode each morning whereas I've only been taking one and an additional two scoops before every workout. Secondly, I've been taking chromium and alpha-lipolic acid morning and night instead of with each meal and before bed. Lastly, I've neglected to include BodyQUICK in my routine. I'll try upping the NO-Xplode to two scoops per day (before workouts on workout days) and I'll take chromium and ALA with each meal instead of in the morning. For the sake of completeness, I'm considering an order of BodyQUICK as well.
My workout has consisted of 12 or 13 sets, significantly higher than the 4-8 exercises per workout suggested here. I'll aim to lower the number of sets in a given workout, however I might increase the number of workouts to 3 per week, simply because I get antsy. Concerning pushing to muscle failure, I think I'm doing a pretty good job. At the moment, I don't do any exercises that are particularly dangerous; doing bench presses to failure without a spotter is a poor choice.
|Rev. barbell curl||40#||6|
|Sit ups, inclined||25#||12|
|Side bend, left||27.5#||9|
|Side bend, right||27.5#||10|
This time I did the sit-ups with the proper cadence. I added a set of barbell curls just because.
Overall, I do feel stronger, my muscles seem to have gotten larger/more defined, and my the fat around my gut has lessened. While I may not yet be a freak of nature, I'm happy with the way things are going.
Long Term Goals
I ostensibly stared this workout routine with the goal of putting together an impressive Halloween costume. There's a bit more to it than that. I'd actually been going to the gym, about 5 times a week, for over a month before beginning this program. That explains why I get antsy only working out every 3 or 4 days. The long term intention of these efforts is to build sustainable habits around diet and fitness; I think I'm on track for that.
Undertaking a high-intensity training program has shown me that I should also develop a habit of experimenting with my diet and fitness routine to get better results. People in the self-help community commonly assert that it takes 20-30 days to form a new habit (or overcome one you don't want). The healthy diet and exercise habits fall into this category. However, getting in the habit of experimenting with the other two habits will take a good bit longer, I think. In any case, the idea of such a meta-habit seems both intriguing and inherently valuable to me. I've thought a lot about this sort of thing in the past few weeks, so expect more on the topic.